Page 346 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 20 February 2018
of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, appearing before the World Heritage Committee to nominate the reef to the World Heritage List in 1981. Dr Baker contributed to the Manila declaration of 1992, the Melaka accord of 1994 and Australian regulatory formulations, all of which provide guidelines and inform policies on the collection and use of biological specimens.
It was this long list of personal and professional attributes which saw Dr Baker nominated for the award of Australian of the Year in 2006. He had already been named one of the first “Queensland Greats”, in 2001. In 2007 Dr Baker became the inaugural patron of the Australian Marine Sciences Association.
In community and policy development contexts, he was influential in Earthwatch, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Australian Heritage Committee, and World Wildlife Fund Australia—an extensive involvement in our community and one that should be celebrated.
Today we extend our deepest sympathy to Dr Baker’s wife and lifetime partner, Valerie, and to his children and grandchildren.
MR COE (Yerrabi—Leader of the Opposition) (10.05): I too rise today to express condolences, on behalf of the opposition, at the passing of Dr Joe Baker AO, OBE. Dr Baker was born in 1932 in Queensland, and throughout his youth was known as an avid sportsperson, particularly enjoying Rugby League, which he successfully played at a state level. However, it was in the field of science that he excelled and for which he is known to us here in the territory. Through his dedication to its principles he made a significant contribution to the ACT public service.
Dr Baker moved to Brisbane in 1950 to undertake a cadetship with the CSIRO, studying chemistry at the University of Queensland. It was there that his passion for science and the environment was realised, a passion that also shaped much of his future professional life.
Dr Baker’s work ethic was second to none, and this became particularly evident during his university years. He would often spend long days working at the CSIRO, but at the end of his shift his day was not over. He would attend university classes, followed by Rugby League training which went late most evenings. In order for him to stay up to date with his assignments and assessments, Dr Baker would continue to study into the early hours of the morning. It was this drive and enthusiasm for education that would stay with him for his whole life and was a great contributor to his later success.
It was a science excursion that led him to meet his wife, Valerie, whom he married in 1955. Despite his demanding work schedule, Dr Baker always had time for his family and their activities. Whilst he was focused on his work, caring for his four children was always his top priority. Dr Baker remained throughout his life a successful environmental scientist but above all a father. His energy and excitement motivated him to give more of himself, and he contributed to the community in many ways, including supporting and mentoring young students.